The heart of the US occupation in Iraq was returned to Iraqi control at midnight last night, the Washington Post reports. Iraqi soldiers now control checkpoints leading to the heavily fortified Green Zone enclave in Baghdad. American troops and workers have moved out of many buildings, including the former palace of Saddam Hussein that once served as a US embassy.
Officials plan to maintain several secure American compounds within the zone, but will open other areas to more traffic if the security situation allows. Iraqis hailed the highly symbolic transfer, mandated in the new security agreement, although some privately expressed fears that the Iraqi forces may not be able to secure the area without American help.